Voices - Visitors' Experience

Visitors' Experience

Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 12:00am

50 Years Later: The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Today is the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Voting Rights Act.  The landmark legislation was signed into law by President Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, just months after the historic Selma to Montgomery march. The law was designed to enforce the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments, resulting in the mass enfranchisement of minorities throughout the country and the South, where black citizens were denied the right to vote by way of intimidation, literacy tests and other unjust practices.  

The Voting Rights Act was originally set to expire five years after its passing. However, congress would recognize the continued need for legislation that protected voting rights five more times; in 1970, 1975, 1982, 1992 and 2006. During those reviews, Congress either amended or added to various provisions in each renewal of the Voting Rights Act.

In 2013, the landmark U.S Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, the court determined that section 4 (b), which established a formula to determine areas where racial discrimination had been more prevalent, was unconstitutional. The case argued that Congress exceeded its authority by re-authorizing the Voting Rights Act while relying on voting data more than 40 years old. The nation's reaction was one of shock and many voiced that the decision weakened the law's authority. Recently, President Obama called for the restoration of the section in the law, emphasizing the importance of legislation that protects the civil liberties of its citizens.

To commemorate this important anniversary, The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC), National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC) and Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA) are co-sponsoring commemorative march across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge this Saturday, August 8 at 9 a.m. Leaders from each partnering organization spoke about the event on WVXU Cincinnati Edition

Marchers are invited to complete “I March for _____” response cards to raise awareness about what society is still marching for today. The response cards be turned into action items by local Cincinnati agencies, who will reconvene throughout the year and lead community discussions inspired by the response cards. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will host a program immediately following the march, featuring local activists and veteran activists, including Freedom Rider Betty Daniels Rosemond, addressing the topic: “Cincinnati 50 Years Ago”. Additionally, all are welcome to weigh in via Twitter by using the hashtag #IMarch4Cincy.  Learn more about the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Power of the Vote, now on exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. 

Assia Johnson

Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights activists leading thousands of nonviolent marchers on a 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.  Second Image: President Johnson with Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights leaders during the signing of the Voting Rights Act, August 6, 1965. 

Related Content: Picture FreedomPower of the Vote.

More authored by Assia: 50 Midwest Museums We LoveMother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 12:26pm

OH Human Trafficking Task Force makes recommendations

Ohio plans to further improve services for victims of trafficking, the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force announced in a report on Monday, July 20.

At the top of the priority list: faster access for victims to recovery services like shelters or drug treatments.

The report also outlines plans to increase public awareness and police access to information about tracking human trafficking, as well as a legal path for victims to have their records expunged of charges that came about as a result of being forced into the sex trade.

“Ohio’s progress in combating trafficking is both exciting and sobering,” wrote Ohio’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator Elizabeth Ranade Janis in the introduction to the report. “More victims have access to justice and more offenders are being punished... However these efforts confirm what advocates already know—more victims will come out of the shadows of exploitation, more intensive law enforcement investigations will be necessary to lock up traffickers, and more trauma-informed care will need to be made available for survivors.”

The recommendations will be implemented by state-level and county-level departments and officials, like the Department of Medicaid, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Department of Job and Family Services.

Three years ago, the task force made 26 other recommendations, almost all of which have been put into place by now. For example, in 2012 the state penalty for human trafficking was upgraded to a first-degree felony, which can come with up to 15 years in prison.

The report estimates roughly one thousand children – mostly young girls between 13 and 18 years of age – are forced into sex trafficking in Ohio each year. Other victims might be forced into sweatshop-like jobs.

Join the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this Thursday at 3 p.m. for a gallery talk on modern-day human trafficking with representatives from End Slavery Now.

Elizabeth Cychosz 
Marketing and Communications Intern

Related Content:  Invisible: Slavery Today

More authored by Elizabeth: Mason man recalls Tiananmen SquareDr. Newsome speaks at international conference in ParisWarren County Underground Railroad station honored with historical markerNHL selects first Chinese player14th Amendment Ratified on this Day, 1868, Former Auschwitz guard sentenced, Honor Nelson Mandela this Sat with 67 min of service

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 10:12am

#FlameFriday: Remembering Officer Kim

Today we honor local hero and Cincinnati Police Officer, Sonny Kim. On the morning of Friday, June 19, Officer Kim, responded to a 911 call, when he was fatally shot by Trepierre Hummons who later died at the hospital.

Kim was a dedicated public servant, faithfully serving the city of Cincinnati for 27 years. Throughout his career as an officer, Kim earned 22 commendations and was praised in 2012 by the U.S. department of Justice for his service. He left behind a wife and three children, who the city has deeply showed their support for.

Yesterday, thousands from around the region paid their respects to Kim and his family during a public visitation held at the Cintas Center at Xavier University. Officer Kim's funeral service will be held at the Cintas Center this morning at 11 am. The general public is welcome to attend and will be asked to sit in the “bowl area,” where fans sit for Xavier sporting events. Doors will open at 9 am and those in attendance should be seated by 10 am. The funeral is expected to last a little over an hour. His funeral will be live streamed at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center beginning at 11 am for those who wish to gather and watch there.

After the funeral, there will be a 14-mile motorcycle procession to the Gate of Heaven Cemetery. The public is encouraged to line the procession along Montgomery Road from Cleneay Avenue to the cemetery. Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley is asking everyone to wear blue on Friday to remember Officer Kim and to show support for law enforcement. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and the City of Cincinnati.

Katie Johnston
Marketing and Communications intern

Image: Officer Kim was a martial arts expert and chief instructor at the Karate-Do center in Cincinnati. Photo credit: cincinnati.com. 

More authored by Katie, Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign

Monday, June 22, 2015 - 12:00am

Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Campaign

Last Friday, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center hosted the Freedmen’s Bureau Indexing Campaign announcement. FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organization in the world, announced the digital release of over 4 million Freedmen’s Bureau historical records and the launch a nationwide volunteer indexing effort. The event was held in the Harriet Tubman Theater and a livestream was broadcast from the main press event that took place at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. There were several speakers at the event in Los Angeles, including Todd Christofferson, senior-level leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Sherri Camp, vice president for geneaology of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society.

Following the live stream, visitors in the Harriet Tubman Theater had the opportunity to discuss their efforts with FamilySearch and hear from:

  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center vice president and provost, Dr. Michael Battle
  • Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society vice president for history, Gene Stephenson
  • National Underground Railroad Freedom Center John Parker Library director, Darrell Wolff
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cincinnati East Ohio Stake president, Joseph W. Bradley 

It took nearly ten years for the records to be digitized and now the hope is to have all the names indexed in the next six to nine months. If you would like to help with this nationwide indexing campaign or learn more about your family history, you can right here at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center! The John Parker Library offers free family history resources and is located on the fourth floor of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Volunteers working in the library can help you join the indexing campaign and help you learn more about your ancestry.

The John Parker Library is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. -  4 p.m. To learn more about the Freedmen's Bureau Indexing Campaign, visit discoverfreedmen.org.

Katie Johnstone
Marketing & Commuications Intern  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 12:00am

Freedom Center Named one of Midwest Living's "50 Midwest Museums We Love"

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center has been named one of Midwest Living’s “50 Midwest Museums We Love.” Midwest Living, whose readership reaches 4.1 million people across 12 states, noted the Center as a “multilevel museum [that] captures the history of slavery and the struggle for freedom. One of the most powerful of the state-of-the-art exhibits is a slave pen [found] on a Kentucky farm. The sobering messages aren’t easy to hear, but they are lessons to remember.”

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was the only Cincinnati museum to make the list and was included alongside four other prestigious institutions and museums in Ohio including; the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Jess Hoffert, staff editor at Midwest Living, added that, “On a previous visit, we especially enjoyed the powerful “Brothers of the Borderland” film, which dramatizes the journey across the Ohio River to freedom.  One of the many components that sets this museum apart is its emphasis on storytelling.”

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center received this recognition during the latter half of its year-long, tenth anniversary celebration, which began with a week-long celebration culminating in the International Freedom Conductor Awards Gala, honoring President Lech Walesa of Poland and former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa last August. In addition to the gala, the anniversary features special exhibitions highlighting diverse struggles for freedom including: Senzeni Na? Selected Photographs from Mandela! Struggle and Triumph, Mandela: A Living Legacy, Power of the Vote, Picture Freedom and Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later. The final anniversary exhibition, Diversity in Baseball, opens June 26 and celebrates baseball’s game changers, who have broken barriers to make America’s pastime more reflective of America’s diverse make-up. 

Click here to view the fill list of museums that made the top 50. Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to view our seasonal hours.  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson
Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

More authored by Assia: Mother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 12:00am

The National Youth Summit 2015

“Unfortunately, many Americans live on the outskirts of hope--some because of their poverty, and some because of their color, and all too many because of both. Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity [and declare] and unconditional war on poverty in America…It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.” –President Lyndon B. Johnson

On April 28, local students participated in the 2015 Youth Summit, a national conversation on President Johnson’s War on Poverty, led by The National Museum of American History. Many of the programs that the War on Poverty created--including Headstart, Medicare and Medicaid--are familiar to us today. A group of local and national experts joined the conversation virtually including: Dr. Marcia Chatelain, Professor Peter Edelman, Melissa Boteach, Michael Tanner, Sherman B. Bradley, Kevin Finn and John Keuffer.

Students gathered in the Everyday Freedom Heroes Gallery to learn what poverty looks like today, if another War on Poverty is needed and what can young people do about the issue in their community. Click here to learn more about the annual Youth Summit and view current bios.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

Assia Johnson
Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Image: The 2015 Youth Summit in the Everyday Freedom Heroes Gallery

More authored by Assia: Mother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

 

Monday, May 4, 2015 - 3:15pm

Fair Trade Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Still trying to figure out what to get mom this Mother's Day? The Freedom Center Gift Shop is full of great gift ideas, including beautiful handmade, fair trade accessories and jewelry that both celebrate mothers and elevate women and girls around the world.

This month's featured fair trade items come to us from the Nomi Network and Baskets of Cambodia--  two non-profits working to empower survivors of human trafficking with economic and educational opportunities. 

The Nomi Network was founded in 2009, creating economic opportunities for survivors and women at risk of human trafficking. Through their network, women gain employable skills, secure vital income and educate their daughters, breaking the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

Baskets of Cambodia was formed in 1996 in war-torn Cambodia, in villages surrounding the famous temples of Angkor Watt. Their philosophy is to create high quality products that lend pride and self-esteem to all of people involved. In addition to finding a beautiful gift for mom that also empowers women and girls, members of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center receive an additional 10% off their purchase.

If you're looking for a meaningful family experience this Mother's Day weekend, bring your family in to see powerful and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions discussing civil and human rights open this spring:

UNLOCKING THE GATES OF AUSCHWITZ 70 YEARS LATER

OPEN NOW THROUGH MAY 27

Follow the journeys of local Auschwitz survivors, Bella Ouziel and Werner Coppel and explore how life and the spirit of resistance continued amidst the horrors of Auschwitz. 

POWER OF THE VOTE

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Power of the Vote, explores and chronicles the history of voting rights in America from the Reconstruction Era to the Civil Rights Movement to present day. 

Click here to view our seasonal hours and plan your visit.

Want the latest on upcoming special exhibitions, events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. 

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

Images: The Freedom Center Gift Shop display, featuring Baskets of Cambodia and Nomi Network accessories and clothes. 

More authored by Assia:  Flame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 12:00am

Docent Stories: James Brock, Celebrating 10 Years as a NURFC Docent

When I first learned of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (NURFC), I was newly retired and looking for ways to give back to the community. During that time, Candace Simmons was the volunteer coordinator at the NURFC and she invited me to be part of a committee discussing how volunteers would be an integral and essential part of the new center’s success. After learning more, I knew that this new role was right for me and became the volunteer stage manager for the NURFC ground-breaking ceremony, where I had the pleasure of escorting First Lady Laura Bush and Muhammad Ali to the podium to address the crowd. 

Needless to say, my volunteer commitment was strengthened.  This newly enhanced commitment followed me as I transitioned to become a member of the inaugural docent (exhibit guide) class under the management of Chris Shires.  The class was composed of some of the same docents who are still volunteering at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center today. It didn’t take long for me to realize the value of my volunteer commitment to the NURFC.  For me, it reflects a sense of belonging. For them, I believe it reflects their commitment to offer our visitors knowledge that can light up their lives, and at the same time, challenge them to become a light for others.

Through structured development and meaningful community experiences, I can explore and understand different cultures and educate our guests and visitors.  One such model is the current special exhibition, Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later. Such stories are absolutely necessary, but are so infrequently told.  As a docent of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, I’m inspired and believe that I can make a difference in the world and in our community.

James Brock, docent, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Image: James Brock touring a group on the 2nd floor in front of the Slave Pen

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 3:13pm

Freedom Center Seasonal Hours are Back

It's that time of year again--warmer weather, longer days and the return of seasonal visitor hours! School groups from across the region will be visiting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center this spring, to engage with history, learn about modern abolition and connect with the lessons of the Underground Railroad. In order to accommodate the influx of visiting school groups and the general public, the museum will be open Mondays in May, from 11 a.m... to 5 p.m.  So, if you are looking for an additional day to tour one of our permanent exhibitions, see one of our films in the Harriet Tubman Theater or experience a special exhibition before it closes, this extension will provide the perfect opportunity for you and your family! 

In addition to Monday's in May, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center will be open two Sundays in April, the 12th and 26th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 16 marks Yom Hashoah, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust. In honor of this day of remembrance, we welcome you join us throughout the month of April to honor the lives of those who perished and celebrate stories of survival by visiting Unlocking the Gates of Auschwitz 70 Years Later.  In this special exhibition, you can learn more about the history of the Holocaust and the stories of two Cincinnati survivors, Bella Ouziel and Werner Coppel, before it closes at the end of May. 

 

Upcoming Programs and Events

Educator Workshop: Transform and Remember: Liberation and Rebuilding After Auschwitz

The John and Francie Pepper Freedom Lecture Series: Dr. Jonathan Scott Holloway Jim Crow Wisdom

Aruna Run: Cincinnati 5K

Online Exhibitions and Resources

Cincinnati's Soldiers: Men and Women in the First World War

Digital Collections and Exhibitions

 

Want the latest on upcoming events and programs? Click here to sign up for eNews and updates. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images. #70YearsLater

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator 

More authored by Assia: Mother's Day Gift IdeasFlame FridayJimmie Lee JacksonMLK Day 2015

Image: Detail of artifact inside Unlocking the Gates, part of the Steven F. Cassidy Collection.

Thursday, February 26, 2015 - 1:47pm

Jimmie Lee Jackson: The Murder that Sparked the Selma to Montgomery Marches of 1965

On February 26, 1965, Alabama civil rights activist Jimmie Lee Jackson died after he was brutally beaten and shot by Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler during a peaceful voting rights march on February 18, 1965. His death would spark the Selma to Montgomery marches, organized by Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Director of Direct Action James Bevel, in an effort to channel community outrage. The Selma to Montgomery marches, three in total, were organized as part of the Selma Voting Rights Movement, whose efforts led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 later that summer. 

The first march took place on Sunday, March 7, a day that would become known as Bloody Sunday, when 600 peaceful marchers were met by state and local law men with tear gas and billy clubs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Images of the violence in Alabama sparked national outrage and two days later, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a peaceful, symbolic march to the bridge.

After civil rights leaders received full protection to exercise their right to peacefully protest, the third and final march was held on Sunday, March 21, where over 3,000 marchers began the 54-mile trek to Montgomery. By the time they reached the steps of the state capitol on March 25, the number had grown to 25, 000.

In 2010, nearly 45 years after Jackson’s death, Alabama State Trooper James Bonard Fowler was indicted and plead guilty to misdemeanor manslaughter. He was sentenced to six months in prison. You can learn more about the history of voting rights in Power of the Vote, open now.

 

-Assia Johnson, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @FreedomCenter, and on Facebook for more historical posts and images.

 

Images: Alabama activist Jimmie Lee Jackson, image of portrait Jimmie Lee Jackson in All for the Cause and image of the voting machine inside Power of the Vote

 

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